Training a horse is a task that takes a lot of time, patience and dedication, especially if you plan to show.
Although there are a lot of technical skills needed, here are a few simple but important tips to ensure you and your horse are ready to show off your skills.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Whether you compete in dressage or barrel racing, there are various obstacles that a horse and rider must be able to successfully navigate when competing in a show.
One of the most common is the jump. There are several types of jumps that you should get your horse familiar with before its first show.
Gates, coops, oxers, and roll top horse jumps are all common obstacles you should introduce to your horse.
The more you practice, the more you both will be comfortable with the movements needed to successfully navigate the show ring.
Like people, horses get bored, so be sure to mix it up and try new things when you are training. Teach your horse fun tricks, learn to reign, or simply go on a long trail ride.
Get To Know Each Other
Horses respond to a rider’s body language and emotion as much as, if not more than, they do the reins.
It’s essential that your horse trusts you and that you know your horse is doing everything it can to keep you safe.
Learn to recognize the signs when your horse is scared and respond calmly. Know when it’s stressed or tired.
Take time to build a relationship with your horse by spending time in and out of the ring together.
Reward Good Behavior
Horses are very sensitive. It’s important to acknowledge when they do something well. Rewarding a horse can be as simple as a hug or pat on the neck.
If your horse doesn’t do what you ask of it, or if it does something wrong, do not punish it.
Instead, take a break and come back to the task at hand when both you and your horse are relaxed and focused again.
There is a lot of activity at horse shows. From other horses and riders to banners and decorative displays, the amount of stimulation can be scary to a horse that isn’t confident around new things.
When training your horse, be sure to introduce it to as many new sights and sounds as you can and, if possible, visit the arena where the show will take place.
A horse that spooks easily is not only detrimental to your success in a show but can also lead to the risk of injury.
Most people start horseback riding because they love it. Even if you are extremely competitive, it’s important for both you and your horse to have fun when getting ready for a show.
Your horse will feel your positive energy, and the judges will no doubt see the amazing connection you share.